Future by lottery. Seriously?

My mate Enjah posted a trailer for a film I’d never heard of called “Waiting for Superman” and after watching it I find myself seething with rage at the injustices of the world. Christ, for the richest, most powerful, most dynamic empire the world has EVER seen, America sure is a basket case. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing a merry jig over here about the UK here either – we also piss our potential up the wall in ways just as morally bankrupt as the US, it’s just you ‘merkins do it so much… well, bigger.

Look my Trans-Atlantic cousins, I’m not looking to score political points here and don’t think I’ll entertain a comment flame-fest (this isn’t an opinion blog, it’s mine and as such I get to decide who calls me a dickhead and it ain’t you – you don’t agree the just stop reading and come back later for a post about some stuff in Second Life I like) but pumping money into a national health system and a fair national education system will not make you Commies. We used to do this a lot more than we do now (bastard Tories) and I almost never kiss my portraits of Stalin or pray to Chairman Mao any more – no, the endless reality shows on TV means that we all now worship at the altar of Simon Cowell so that’s OK isn’t it. *sobs*

If I could recommend one thing to the half-dozen people who read the shit I post here, it would be to read The Spirit Level (which, thankfully, has fuck all to do with spirits, human or cosmic, but instead refers to the popular iPhone app… I mean building tool for ensuring what you are building is level and will not fall on someone and kill them). It’s a rather amazing book – not the easiest to get into, but worth it in the end. Unless you like Capitalism and aren’t too bothered about the poor fuckers making your jeans, etc. that is, in which case I’d steer clear. But if you like Capitalism but would rather like it to be a little less twatish and a lot more caring then this is the book for you, oh yes! 🙂

Anyway, here’s the trailer that brought on this fit of “We’re all dooooooooooooooomed!”

A generation less literate than the last. Jesus.

p.s. here’s a film about the Spirit Level book



  1. I haven’t seen the film, but it’s well-known on this side of the pond and apparently rightly celebrated. But I think you’re taking the wrong lesson from it. The problem is NOT lack of money. The money flows and flows. Washington, DC public schools are absolutely awful – but they still spend somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 per student per year. (I used to know the number more exactly, but it’s floating on the Web somewhere.) In fact, study after study shows almost no relationship between spending per pupil and the quality of the resulting education. There are problems in DC schools aplenty, but they must stem from something other than a cash shortage.

    An educated guess would be that the environment for the kids continues to erode. Parents are uninterested in what their children learn, the lure of gangs and drugs overpower the desire to get an education and a decent job, discipline problems in the classroom mean that teachers are increasingly doing something other than teaching, so the ones who want to learn can’t… the list goes on.

    My recollection is that the movie is very much pro-choice when it comes to schools, believing that the market can solve some of these problems – that parents will enroll their children in better-performing schools, and the underperforming ones will eventually fade away. If you believe that, it’s not a failure of capitalism that’s causing our kids to be less literate than previous generations, but the very fact that a monopoly provider of education (the government) is doing what monopolists do – providing low-quality services at a high price. Although I’m pro-school choice myself because I don’t think the one-size-fits-all education program of the government is the way to go, it seems to me that this is a naive analysis, given all the problems I outlined above, none of which are the fault of the schools.

    But Lord, no more spending!

    1. Ah yes… good points all – especially about the Gov doing what Govs do best – bollocks things up. Our rail system here is pretty crappy and people often wish it would be re-nationalised back the glory days of British Rail… except BR was bloody awful then too.

      I heard a radio piece last week about why Finish schools at the top – the expert was saying it’s largely down to the Lutheran nature of society there in which people feel it is their civic duty to be involved with their schools to make them better and educate the kids correctly, rather than just seeing them as somewhere to drop their brats off for a few hours in which they are “someone else’s problem”.

      I dunno, I don’t have the kind of mind that can hold and sort these problems. I just find the fact kinds have to rely on a bingo caller to have any hope of a decent future to be morally abhorrent.

      As for no more spending… I very much doubt that’s an option now anyhoo. We’re all broke, remember 😀

  2. Don’t worry about insulting Amerecans over “communist” issues. Socialism capitalism is a deep debate. Personally I lean toward the former, especially in health care and some other issues. But there’s pros and cons to both sides.

    Interesting list of comparisons, perhaps, and a third way here:


    And then there’s so much *stupid* stuff out there as well, like this (quick googling; hard sometimes to tell if this junk is instead tongue in cheek):


    Amereca is so divided now, so polarized. One has to worry a bit. Thankfully it looks like we have Obama penciled in for another 4 years. Great leader, great communicator. Flaws? Sure. But he has to walk the knife’s edge each and every day.

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